William Faulkner Reviews Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea

His best. Time may show it to be the best single piece of any of us, I mean his and my contemporaries. This time, he discovered God, a Creator. Until now, his men and women had made themselves, shaped themselves out of their own clay; their victories and defeats were at the hands of each other, just to prove to themselves or one another how tough they could be. But this time, he wrote about pity: about something somewhere that made them all: the old man who had to catch the fish and then lose it, the fish that had to be caught and then lost, the sharks which had to rob the old man of his fish; made them all and loved them all and pitied them all. It’s all right. Praise God that whatever made and loves and pities Hemingway and me kept him from touching it any further.

William Faulkner’s review of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea was first published in the Autumn 1952 issue of Shenandoah. The review is collected in Faulkner’s Essays, Speeches & Public Letters.


  1. Pingback: The Reading Report: Book News for June 23 - July 6, 2014 - Insatiable Booksluts
  2. enrique · July 2, 2014

    Reblogged this on prior probability and commented:
    Do you agree with Faulkner that Old Man is Hemingway’s best work? In literature and the arts, how does one decide (beyond one’s subjective personal opinion) what the “best” is?


  3. Pingback: Here’s Faulker’s one-sentence review of his not-so-beloved Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea | NewsYaps

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